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Nov 29, 2011


Bryan Rahija


Is it possible that you ran the calculator for just one of the six new generals? It looks like you may have done that and rounded up slightly or used different assumptions (Ben's figure for each general was approximately $210k). If you multiply by the total number of new generals you'll arrive at the $1.25 million number.


$1.25 million a year? Why when I ran the calculator did I come up with $250k a year? Fascinating math. Show us your numbers.


The reality is that many tasks that used to be performed by enlistedmen waybackwhen are now performed by officers. In WW2, enlisted pilots flew aircraft. Nowadays, aircraft in the USAF are all flown by officers and warrants.

What might be an interesting comparison is comparing the numbers of generals, historically to today. Their general responsibilities haven't varied as much as officers have. As organizational flexibility of a military unit increased, more officers were required to provide nodes of initiative.

A civil war era unit had a colonel and a handful of junior officers, plus a number of sergeants to lead a regiment to battle. The modern infantry battalion has the LTC and the HHC, and each company has a company commander and associated support (weapons platoon, etc), and each company in turn is divided into platoons and each platoon has a 2nd LT.

Definitely more officers to gel this organization together. But we should focus on "Star Creep", as this article describes.


A large part of the reason our military is so top heavy is because no one in the military fights. Only 15% actually fight. One of the activities a large portion of the other 85% are doing is procurement. That is especially true in the Air Force, where far less than the 15% military average fight. If you really want to decrease the "top heaviness" of the military, turn it back into a military. Get rid of the bureacrats. One of the best ways to drive a stake through the heart of the military bureacracies is to stop paying contractors for development costs. These are the largest and most wasteful of all the military bureacracies. If we forced them to go back to buying weapons instead of lies, it would take far fewer people to buy weapons. When you buy lies, otherwise known as "proposals", you need to have people to discover if the lies are detectable by others, then you need people to produce the propaganda to convince the public the lies are true, then you need people to watch the contractor to make sure the rest of their lies are of the sort that can be covered with propaganda, and so forth. Wouldn't it just be easier to get out of the business of lying all together? I mean, hell, there's nothing that makes sense in our current procurement system, so why has it been around as long as it has?

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